The Wolf At His Door (Runes Trilogy #1) by Adrian W. Lilly

The Wolf at His Door - Adrian Lilly
Alec has many good friends, a twin brother and big sister who support him and even now a new boyfriend – well, potential boyfriend. Sure their parents fight a lot and not all is warm and fuzzy – and his headaches can make him damn miserable at times, but things are good.
Except those headaches are prescient – an omen of doom to come.

When the werewolf arrives, it extracts a cost of blood. Friends, family and loved ones die, one after another. The town is rocked by a huge string of missing persons, people disappearing without a trace – and the new boyfriend Jared is more than what he seems
In the midst of chaos and loss, Alec can only find some way to stop the werewolf before everyone he loves is killed.
We have a pretty interesting and intriguing story here – one that takes werewolves back to being monsters, a threat a danger. Few books have truly made the werewolf as monstrous as this one – not just in terms of evil deeds and savage monstrosity (though the atrocities committed in this book easily match any that the monsters have committed in others) but also in terms of sheer unstoppability. The power of the werewolf, the horror of facing one down, the utter helplessness of being confronted by this monster has been excellently conveyed. The book also doesn’t pull any punches when presenting the horror of the aftermath, the carnage, the gore, the shellshocked and wounded survivors, the devastation left in their work.
We have some excellent hints of a broad world and some building epic metaplot that will no doubt lead to lots of fascinating revelations and development in the future. There’s a lot there that is being hinted at with all kind of implications of experiments and magic and powers that I really want to know more about
The main problem I have with this book is we have a lot of characters who are introduced to us very quickly and not a great deal of effort is made to develop any of them. And that includes the protagonist – who spends a decent portion of the book unconscious – in fact, I’m not even sure if it’s accurate to call him a protagonist because the book didn’t really focus on him. It just didn’t really focus on anyone else either. The only person who had a lot of her depth analysed, her past, her motivations and her pain was Ilene. And while it’s good to get a character so developed, her motivations, her past, her guilt, her shame, her battling to move past there, her loss and her confusion, I’m still left kind of wondering why I spent so much time in her head and not everyone else’s when she was so secondary to the plot.
We have a number of characters buzzing around the plot who didn’t seem to serve any role – Alec’s doctor, police investigating missing persons, police investigating the murders. Hey were kind of just there – and yes, you expect all of these people to be there, but why make them such characters, why have scenes from their point of view, why spend so much time in the heads of people who could just as easily been reduced to names on paper? They may be relevant later in the trilogy, I suspect several of them will be – but there’s just bloat now. There’s just a lot of time in this book spent examining the heads of people who aren’t really relevant to the narrative, to the detriment of the people who actually are.
This leads to many of the horrific incidents in the book not carrying the same weight. People are killed in this book and I’m not even sure who they are. There are so many people wandering back and forth I needed to keep notes just to figure out who each person was and how they related to the protagonist and, eventually, a note on whether or not I actually needed to care about this person, what they were doing or what they were feeling. One small advantage of Ilene‘s over-analysis is it gave us some window into the grief over the many many dead – but it was kind of the only window. And there were some characters dying here who should have been utterly devastating to Alec and quite a few other characters and it just wasn’t, not to the extent I’d expect. I certainly wasn’t moved because I didn’t know enough about them to connect.


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